Earmarking? Yes



In recent years, the debate over congressional earmarking of funds for research facilities at universities has been characterized more by cliches than clear thinking. Opponents of the process quickly latched onto “Pork Barrel” as a way to condemn it, and proponents shot right back by labeling Peer Review the “Old Boys Network.” “Pork Barrel” usually refers to public works projects designed to generate political patronage. “Old Boys Network” is a way of describing business and country club connections that prevent outsiders from breaking into a lucrative economic circle. Neither has anything to do with a genuine national problem regarding the state of the nation's science research facilities or what should be done to resolve it, so I propose both cliches be sent to the shredder.